News from around the Central:
- It's MASH UNIT MONDAY here at Around the NL Central, so let's review the list of the walking wounded around the division:
- At this point, the Cardinals disabled list is threatening to bleed on to a second page: while attempting to lay down a bunt in the Cards' 10-inning win over the Royals on Sunday, catcher Gerald Laird was hit on the right index finger and suffered a busted digit. There's no timetable for his return as of yet. To make matters worse, left fielder Matt Holliday was lifted from the game in the fifth inning after apparently aggravating his nagging quadriceps injury.
- If everything goes OK with his throwing session today, "injured" Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman will begin a rehab assignment at AAA Louisville this week. Ideally, Cincinnati wants the left-hander to make three rehab starts before he's activated from the DL.
- Pirate reliever Evan Meek turned in two scoreless appearances at AAA Indianapolis over the weekend, so Pittsburgh activated the right-hander from the disabled list. The Pirates optioned left-hander Daniel Moskos to AAA to make room for Meek on the 25-man roster.
- The Cubs left Boston battered and bruised after the weekend's action, and outfielder Marlon Byrd is the worst for wear: as Noah told you yesterday, Byrd was hit in the face by a fastball on Saturday and suffered multiple facial fractures. He's been placed on the 15-day DL. The Cubs also lost right-hander Matt Garza -- at least for one start -- when he was scratched from yesterday's nightcap against the Red Sox because of tightness in his throwing elbow.
- Astro infielder Jeff Keppinger is scheduled to make three rehab appearances at AAA Oklahoma City this week as he makes his way back from offseason foot surgery. Houston will check his progress on Thursday, and he could be activated in time for Friday's game.
- The Fightin' Yosties of Kansas City rallied from a 7-1, fifth-inning deficit in the rubber match of their series with St. Louis, using some excellent run scoring from Jeff Francoeur and Mitch Maier to knot the game at 7 in the seventh inning. Unfortunately for KC, reliever Tim Collins picked a most inopportune time to walk the ballpark, issuing bases-loaded passes to Colby Rasmus (who drew five walks on the day) and Yadier Molina to force in two runs in the 10th inning. The Roy Boys had one last gasp, scoring a run off Flavor of the Month Closer Fernando Salas in the bottom of the 10th, but Alcides Escobar struck out looking with the tying run on second base.
- Fives were wild for Cleveland second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who went 5-5 with five runs driven in to power the Indians to a 12-4 win and a three-game sweep of Cincinnati. Edinson Volquez was off his game yesterday -- 2.2 innings, seven hits, four walks -- and the Tribe took full advantage, plating seven early runs (six of which were earned) to chase Volquez in the third inning. Cabrera homered twice and totaled 11 bases for the game and former Brewer farmhand Michael Brantley went 3-4 with a double, two RsBI, and three runs scored for Cleveland.
- Pittsburgh couldn't figure out Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, who held the Pirates to one hit over eight innings as Detroit blanked Pittsburgh, 2-0. Porcello needed just 84 pitches to confound the Bucs, walking two and striking out three, and Jose Valverde worked around a ninth-inning hit for his 11th save. On the other side of the coin, Pirate lefty Paul Maholm labored through 5.1 innings, walking two and giving up six hits, including a homer to Jhonny Peralta.
- With Matt Garza's injury throwing a wrench in the Cubs rotation, lefty James Russell was pressed into emergency duty in the finale of Chicago's three-game set in Boston. As per usual, the results for Russell were nothing to write home about: he lasted just four innings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs as the Red Sox took the series with a 5-1 win. Chicago was stymied by ancient knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who limited the Cubs to one run and four hits in 6.2 innings.
- Thanks to a two-run homer off the bat of Hunter Pence and three shutout innings from the bullpen, Houston declared a 3-2 victory over Toronto when it passed through customs on Sunday afternoon. Wandy Rodriguez surrendered two homers on the day, but he managed to keep Jose Bautista in the yard and evened his record at 3-3 on the year.
On tap for tonight:
- St. Louis visits sunny San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres, starting at 9:05 p.m. CDT tonight. The Cardinals send Kyle Lohse (5-2, 2.17) to the bump to face San Diego's Dustin Moseley (1-6, 3.40).
- The Reds take to the road to start a four-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark. Game one starts at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight, with Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 4.11) scheduled to face Philadelphia's Cole Hamels (5-2, 2.92).
- The Astros host the Dodgers in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park, beginning at 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Houston starts Bud Norris (2-3, 3.93) and the Dodgers counter with lefty Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.09).
- The Cubs and Pirates have the day off.